February 14, 2013
Honorable Thomas Luna
State Superintendent of Public Education
Idaho State Department of Education
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, ID 83720
Dear Superintendent Luna:
This letter is to serve as an update on the status of Idaho’s ESEA flexibility waiver. Currently, Idaho’s request for ESEA flexibility is approved through the end of the 2012–2013 school year, subject to the condition that it deobligate School Improvement Grant (SIG) funds that were awarded to ineligible schools and replace those obligations with State, local, or other allowable Federal funds, as discussed in Finding 1 of Critical Element 3 in the revised SIG monitoring report issued November 14, 2012.
On December 27, 2012, Idaho submitted documentation to the U.S. Department of Education (Department) demonstrating that it had deobligated SIG funds and had replaced those obligations with other Federal and State funds, as required by the SIG monitoring report. The next day, Idaho also submitted a request to extend approval of its ESEA flexibility request through the end of the 2013–2014 school year.
Staff from the Department have carefully reviewed the documentation Idaho submitted and determined that Idaho has satisfied the condition originally placed on the approval of its ESEA flexibility request. Accordingly, I am hereby lifting that condition.
On December 13, 2012, Idaho submitted a letter requesting that the Department suspend its review of Idaho’s ESEA flexibility Principle 3 submission so that the State could resubmit a Principle 3 request that meets the ESEA flexibility requirements. This request was based on the fact that specific Idaho education reform laws that required multiple measures and student growth as a significant factor in teacher and principal evaluation systems were overturned through a referendum passed on November 6, 2012. The request to suspend the review further indicated that Idaho is working to submit rules that will meet the Principle 3 requirements to the Idaho State Board of Education so that Idaho can submit a revised Principle 3 to the Department by April 30, 2013.
In light of these circumstances, I am granting Idaho’s request to suspend review of Principle 3 of its ESEA flexibility request for a reasonable period of time (as identified below) while Idaho takes the actions necessary to adopt guidelines that meet the Principle 3 requirements. Idaho’s ESEA flexibility request will remain approved through the end of the 2012–2013 school year, subject to Idaho’s commitment to submit to the Department a Principle 3 request that meets the ESEA flexibility requirements on or before May 15, 2013. Following the Department’s review of the resubmission, a determination will be made as to the status of Idaho’s waiver. The future status of Idaho’s flexibility beyond June 30, 2013 is dependent upon meeting this commitment, as well as its commitment to ensure that districts in Idaho will pilot evaluation and support systems consistent with the State’s guidelines no later than the 2013–2014 school year, as required under ESEA flexibility.
As a reminder, in order to meet the requirements of ESEA flexibility, Idaho’s Principle 3 submission must demonstrate that Idaho and each of its local educational agencies (LEAs) will develop, adopt, pilot, and implement, with the involvement of teachers and principals, teacher and principal evaluation and support systems that:
- will be used for continual improvement of instruction;
- meaningfully differentiate performance using at least three performance levels
- use multiple valid measures in determining performance levels, including data on student growth for all students (including English Learners and students with disabilities) as a significant factor, and other measures of professional practice (which may be gathered through multiple formats and sources, such as observations based on rigorous teacher performance standards, teacher portfolios, and student and parent surveys);
- evaluate teachers and principals on a regular basis;
- provide clear, timely, and useful feedback, including feedback that identifies needs and guides professional development; and
- will be used to inform personnel decisions.
Idaho must develop and adopt guidelines for these systems, and LEAs must develop and implement teacher and principal evaluation and support systems that are consistent with Idaho’s guidelines. Additional information regarding the requirements for Principle 3 can be found in the Department’s ESEA flexibility documents (available at: http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility).
Idaho’s request to extend the approval of its ESEA flexibility request will remain pending until this commitment has been met. Please contact Elizabeth Ross at Elizabeth.Ross@ed.gov or by telephone at (202) 260-8961 if you have questions as you move forward to resolve the commitment on Idaho’s ESEA flexibility request.
Thank you for your continued focus on enhancing education for all of Idaho’s children.
Deborah S. Delisle
cc: Nick Smith, Deputy Superintendent, Division of Federal Programs